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    Aquatic Animals are More Fun

    August 10, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Most people don’t realize that the majority of time one spends at a major zoo will be spent watching wild animals sleep. Except for giraffes. Giraffes only sleep thirty minutes per day, and not all at once. But they are a big exception. Lions, on the other hand, sleep twenty hours per day on average. The King of the Jungle spends a lot of time lying down on the job.

    This is probably the biggest difference between Sea World and a zoo. A zoo will have shows with mostly people in them because the animals are sleeping. But Sea World trains animals to perform every thirty minutes or so, rain or shine. And dolphins seem so playful, no matter that it is the fifth time they performed that day.

    Now, Sea World is much more commercialized than the Zoo or Wild Animal Park. It’s all glitz, glitter, and Shamu at Sea World. Oh, but it is interesting. And the animals, may I remind the reader, are awake.

    Below is my small collection of photo highlights from Sea World:

    Sea Lion Tail Up
    This is a sea lion {seal} doing one of its many impressive tricks. These creatures were much more entertaining than I expected. I live in California, remember. The seals here are allowed to lounge around, lessening the quality of life for humans and being impertinent {Californians frown on basic animal husbandry unless it occurs within a zoo or aquarium}. I often call them the sloths of the sea because California sea lions don’t do much of anything. But these guys at Sea World made up for all of that and raised my opinion of the creatures before the end of the day.

    Pepsi Otter
    This little otter was just darling. In this photo, he is bringing his trainer a Pepsi! It was half his size, but he very slowly carried out his heavy load.

    Check out the tusks on this guy! We enjoyed watching him gracefully move his cumbersome body through the aquarium waters. I suppose it is to his advantage that he weighs less in water because he is a BIG boy.

    Four Dolphins
    Oh, they look so sweet and innocent. But their favorite game is to then turn around and use their tales to splash all the audience members they just wooed with their big, friendly faces. Don’t be fooled. These are EVIL dolphins. It was, however, so hot that we were grateful for the soaking.

    Dolphin High Jump
    I don’t remember this dolphin’s name, but he is the highest jumper at Sea World, and the trainers are quite proud of him.

    Beluga Whales
    This is one of the three beautiful beluga whales we spent some time watching. It was hard to take a perfect photo because of the density of the crowds. These creatures are a popular attraction. I suppose I will have to do something very old fashioned, like remember them in my mind.

    The normal penguin exhibit was being renovated, but we were still able to take a look at some penguins, basking in the extreme heat in a small pool outside the closed exhibit. I was surprised at how little penguins are (or at least the breed we saw–are there different kinds?). This guy was the one that came the closest to us.

    Penguin Swim
    Penguins are funny. It is almost surprising that they swim so well after watching them be so clumsy about getting into the water in the first place. They almost appear afraid of it, as they pace back and forth, seemingly trying to make up their mind about getting wet. And yet, once in the water, they do seem quite at home.

    Killer Whale Jump
    This was a very impressive jump performed by a killer whale. We learned that killer whales are quite the predators, eating fish and dolphins and seals, to give a short list. They look so cute, but they are more like sharks than a dolphin. The big question over this photo is probably, “Is that Shamu?” I have no idea. All killer whales look the same to me. Seeing these whales in captivity was pretty upsetting to be honest. It made me want to visit dana point whale watching and see whales in their natural habit.

    Jelly Fish
    I have never really had the chance to watch jelly fish close up, and it was quite amazing. For some reason, I expected them to be singing a song as they floated about. They seem like space creatures, and they are so close to being completely transparent that it is hard to imagine they are alive. And yet they are. To quote a book I often read to my son, “What a God we have!”


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    1 Comment

  • Reply Rebecca August 11, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    Aquatic animals ARE more fun!

    While we were at the Monterey Bay Aquarium this summer we saw penguins bobbing up and down in the pool. It looked as though they were bouncing to the music.

    By the way, there are many different penguins. The ones in Monterey are from somewhere in Africa because Monterey has nearly the same climate and the penguins can thrive. I would love to get to see an emporer penguin (I think those are the large ones).

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